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drtremmie

marketting + gaming == $$$?

8 posts in this topic

I think *professional* publishers have a bugger of a time with this topic. History has proven that in this industry, no matter how much $$$ you throw at market research, it's ultimately a crap shoot.

The reason there's so many me-too titles is because most publishers do the "wise" marketing thing and place their bets on past successes. Needless to say, this often isn't the best way to go.

Also, many times the implementation of an idea is what really makes or breaks a title, not the idea itself. Starcraft isn't more popular than Dominion because its core gameplay is wildly different... Starcraft's just a better implementation.

Trust your gut, make something you can get inspired about, and leave the surveys and think-tank marketing stuff for the guys who can afford to waste their time and money on it.

Just MHO.

Mason McCuskey
Spin Studios
www.spin-studios.com

[This message has been edited by mason (edited September 10, 1999).]

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thanks for your input. i was actually wondering if other game developers actually do this sort of legwork, or if they just build 'me-too-but-with-bigger-badder-monsters' products and hope to grab the buyer who bought the game upon which they have just based their game. when looking at the games on the shelf at a local store, it certainly seems that innovation and fresh ideas are largely lacking. i, for one, am sick of playing the same game with different graphics.

this said, i am still contemplating spending a few weekends hanging out in front of a local game store in a mall and asking questions and observing the buyer while they are in the store. that will only cost my time and some memory in my palm IIIx.

for the record, i am contemplating creating an rpg with a higher level of realism (no, you cannot get stepped on by a dragon and survive, sorry), a more detailed and less restrictive environment, and an expanding, dynamic world in which you can actually make a difference ("hey look at me! i just set a local pub on fire...and it actually burned down!"). this is quite a large task for a first game project, i would appreciate some opinions on ways to scale this down into reasonable milestones or versions. i will not go into the dirty details of my idea (unless prompted to do so).

the thread about time passage, however, i know i will be frequenting


cheers,
drtremmie

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My approach to this topic is: Make a game you want to play. You may not capture the "largest" segment of the market, but you will get a response. No one is so totally unique that they could create a game *only* they enjoy. Statistically improbable.

As for creating games that people already want...as an independent developer, you surely realize that your time-to-market isn't your greatest strength. It takes a full team 12-24 months to create a complete game. A small, part-time team is going to take significantly longer and/or step down from the "leading edge" of top-end games. Thus, by the time you give the public what they wanted when you asked, there's a good chance they've moved on to another want entirely.

If you can design even an adequate game and get it to market, you will sell copies. You might not threaten id's market share, but you will have players who like your game.

Make the games you want to make. After all, you only really know what one person on this world wants, and you're that person.

------------------
DavidRM
Samu Games

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Interesting thoughts. What I'm doing currently for my zero-budget project is make something that makes sense, that I want to play, and that includes features that people are asking for. How do I know what people want? I looked at the last 2 or 3 games in that genre that came out, and all the things that people bitched about in their discussion groups. This way, I get to learn from others' mistakes and experience.

-------

Lack

[This message has been edited by LackOfKnack (edited September 11, 1999).]

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I like your game idea it would be cool to hack my sword into a wall and have an effect!
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here's my two bits. (it used to be two cents, but inflation, ya know?)

step outside of the box with me for a moment, and lets observe and deconstruct what you are doing...

now, we look back, and we see you frantically trying to figure out what your targeting audience wants, constantly asking yourself and others: "what do they want?" "what is a popular feature?"

okay, this is a viable line of attack, but is there another way you can go about this?

here's my contention.... players dont really know what they want, and they cant be counted on to provide you with new features (other than wild, out of this world speculations that are completely unrealistic for the most part)

so, asking players what they want isnt constructive, or not very constructive.

contention#2: players know what sucks.... i.e. players know what they DONT like about past titles.

contention#3: players are somewhat forgiving. as long as the game is fun, they will overlook one or two minor things that they dont like.

these two things are much more helpful than contention #1 is. (there are exceptions to all of these contentions, of course, but we are dealing with the gaming community en mass here, so we generalize)

so, the real question you should ask of players is "what *didnt* you like about game X?" and then "was it forgivable?"

from this sort of data, you know what to exclude from your game. unforgivable sins should be removed entirely (or at least, seemingly removed entirely), forvigable sins are allowed, but you should TRY to eliminate them.

make sure that these sins are as specific as you can get them.

here's an example of what i think is a sin, and it is a forgivable one that i myself have been guilty of.

take for example potions. in some games, like diablo, you wind up quaffing hundreds of them through the course of the game.

there are three types of potion in diablo... healing, mana, and rejuve.

now, in the REAL world, potions correspond to medicines, and here is what is commonly known about medicines:

A: some people are allergic to some medicines.(i personally am allergic to penicillin)
B: most medicines have side effects(at least, the strong ones do)
C: many medicines are addictive
D: the more you take of a medicine, the less effective it is(tolerance)

now, bring this into diablo-world. nobody is ever allergic to any type of potion. there are no side effects. they are not addictive, and you dont develop a tolerance. as far as i've seen, NONE of these have ever been incorporated into a CRPG.

since we cant make the game unplayable, we must cover all of the functions that the potions do and have them available to the player. so, we come up with the following combinations:

#1: the character has no allergy
#2: the character is allergic to mana potions
#3: the character is allergic to health potions
#4: the character is allergic to rejuve potions
#5: the character is allergic to both health and mana potions

this list is roughly from most common to least common (for the mage, switch #2 and #3)

these allergies could have several different effects on the character... they may have NO effect(essentially an immunity). they may have a detrimental effect.

for the elixers of dex, str, etc, you can give random possibilities of immunity/allergy.

but anyway, i've gotten on a tangent.

my point is... you can think about a problem one way and never arrive at a solution, but if you change the way you look at it, you might come to a solution rather quickly.

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thank you for you ideas oh-heinlein-novel-quoted-and-thusly-named-one.

i will add this concept you have mentioned,
however, i have decied to expand it to include any number of ailments, diseases, and the like.

it is amazing how many elements can be added to an rpg without great cycle cost. these are simple things, but they add so much depth.

im excited to start coding...
but i must restrain myself and continue through the design phase.

cheers,
drtremmie

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[NOTE: it has occured to me that some may feel that this message belongs in the Help Wanted forum, this may be true, however i feel that this is indeed part of the design process proper - drt]

so im looking to write some games. i have specific ideas in mind for some games, however i recognise that my opinions on what is a 'good game' that 'people want' may not be very accurate at all...

so this brings me to my problem:

how does one gauge the game market to determine what game ideas actually have potential customers? (market research -- what do the customers want? what problems do they have that we/i can solve?)

here is the trick though:
i have no $$$ for this purpose. aye, the pain of independent development... *sigh*

a certain solution comes to mind, however it violently violates my current marketting budget ($0.00 - well not really, but close).
this idea is to place an html based survey/form in a 'heavily trafficked by game buyers and players' area of the web.

i would appreciate any pointers to possible data collection methods and/or existing data in this area.

the thorough developer in me just insists on going through this step. maybe it is a mistake for the game field?

cheers,
drtremmie

[This message has been edited by drtremmie (edited September 10, 1999).]

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I loved the idea with potions, and will include it through potions, salves, and other similar alchemic areas of the game( maybe even magic in total).

I would write some new design ideas here, but my list is growing to well over 10 pages in word single spaced, so I will e-mail in sections, as I check, and modify them.

If anyone wants a list of new design ideas, and an outline of implementation techniques for them you can e-mail me, I'd be happy to send you the list.

------------------
Tell the truth and you will never fear someone will figure out you lied.
<<I'm sure I'm quoting someone out there, wish I knew who!>>
David Abresch

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